Being a houseguest allows you to fantasize with no one crowding you. After all, you are but a guest, an adornment. Your object is to give pleasure to your hosts. Lolling around in other people’s houses allows your mind to drift . . . Oh, domesticity! The wonder of dinner plates and cream pitchers. You know your friends by their ornaments. You want everything. If Mrs. A. has her mama’s old jelly mold, you want one, too, and everything that goes with it – the family, the tradition, the years of having jelly molded in it. We domestic sensualists live in a state of longing, no matter how comfortable our own places are. (Laurie Colwin)
4. liquid lunch (2/15; Chris T’s birthday)
Kim picked me up so we could find her a futon and get some lunch. After finding a futon in Brooklyn Heights, we tried to get cupcakes at Baked in Red Hook. Baked was closed, so we had lunch at the Hook & Anchor instead. Clam cakes and a Caesar salad for me, pierogies and the chopped salad for Kim. Kim’s just moved into a new apartment, so we talked about her new space. She’s also in the process of applying to vet school, and had to visit UPenn for interviews on Thursday. But I think we caught up enough that I could actually tell you how she is doing, as opposed to just guessing like I have been for the last few years. She mocked me for having a cocktail with lunch, but I could not resist the combination of Pimm’s, lime, and natural sour on the menu. Delicious. Before taking off, Kim bought Nick and Nadine’s futon frame for her new mattress. We helped her load the frame into the car, then I watched her drive away into the sunshine.
In the afternoon mail, Nadine received a notice that she published her first story. This called for drinks, so after dinner we headed out to a dim hipster bar on Smith Street. The hipster bar had everything you would expect of a hipster bar in Brooklyn in 2005: dim, almost dangerous lighting. A bowling arcade machine. Girls with questionable accessorizing talent. Boys with funny facial hair. I was still cramping like a maniac, so I made it an early night and promised to meet Sean for lunch the next day.
5. saffron (2/16)
Lunch with Sean at Baluchi’s. I had the chicken makhani and a basket full of plain nan, Sean the chicken tikka masala. It was delicious. The place was full of Asian students, families, businessmen, young people like us who played with the cruet. I walked Sean back to work, then took the bus up to 86th and Central Park West so I, too, could witness the phenomenon of “The Gates”. And it was fine. A light rain began to fall as I went round the reservoir. I ran into the Regis cross country team as I made my way out of the park, and I was instantly reminded of doing plays with Regis boys, sneaking cigarettes with them on the evening walks to the subway. I took the M3 bus down Fifth Avenue, making faces back at the little Spence girls in their smocks as we creept through heavy traffic. Thankfully, the train ride out to Flushing to see my parents was quicker, but just as crowded with children. This time Asian high school students who filled the car with laughter as they would shove each other out of the car at each stop.
Spent the night at my parents. My dad instantly bugged me about my diet, so I shut myself in my sister’s room to read back issues of Teen Vogue and wait for the morning.
6. silk (2/17; Andreas’s birthday)
I found Nadine across the street from an oversize needle and button, a sculpture to remind you that you were on Seventh Avenue, the heart of the fashion industry. We slunk through several fabric stores, comparing one store’s bolt of gray silk dupioni to another, taking clippings from bolts of red silk shantung for the ties Nick’s groomsmen will wear. Once I found the fabric of my dreams, we stopped at an Old Navy on the way home so I could finally get myself a belt. Oh, and cute pink and orange clutch for $6.99, natch. The basement of the ON in Herald’s Square (34th near Seventh Avenue) was a huge clearance room, and the low low prices helped ease the pain of the fact that the Barney’s Warehouse sale, which started that day, was still out of my price range.
With Nick and Nadine out to the theater that evening, I joined Sean and Michelle for dinner. We had nachos, watched some ‘Buffy’, played with Freddy. I fell asleep on their futon, the cat curled up next to me like a fluffy hot water bottle. I realized that I’ve spent every day of my trip sleeping with cats — Scrabble & MungoToe at Nick and Nadine’s, Mango at my parents, Freddy at Sean and Michelle’s. It’s a good thing I’m not allergic, or this trip would have been totally impossible. I’d still rather have a dog, though.
The Ramones – Judy Is A Punk; The Coup – Cars & Shoes; Genesis – Land Of Confusion